GREENVILLE – The Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Darke DD) embraces Ohio’s Employment First Initiative of “envisioning a time when every working age adult with developmental disabilities has opportunity to seek jobs that fit their skills and interests.”
The board believes in each person’s potential to work and become active members in their community, as stated in their mission statement “to empower people with developmental disabilities to explore possibilities for their lives by maximizing independence, community participation, employment, and economic self-sufficiency in their daily life experiences.”
“As we continue our efforts in celebrating March as DD Awareness Month and this year’s theme ‘What’s Your Story?’ we take a look at one of the unique opportunities that the board has engaged in – an enclave-to-work partnership with Greenville Technology Inc. (GTI),” said a spokesperson. “This week’s ‘What’s Your Story?’ features two individuals with successful stories but first, a little background on the enclave.”
Over many years, a solid relationship was built between Darke DD, Wayne Industries, and GTI through contracted assembly work done at the Wayne Industries building. With creative minds and a commitment toward assisting people to work in the community, GTI contracted with Wayne Industries, who supplied a group of six to seven workers and a supervisor to complete the production work (enclave) at GTI. The goal of the enclave was to match workers interested in production work to the staffing needs at GTI. This partnership paid off and in 2015, two workers were hired by Greenville Technology Inc. (GTI) as a result of these collaborations.
Ashton Lehman was the first one from the group to be offered employment by GTI. He began working in the extrusion area where he quickly displayed his strengths and his attention to detail. The first time his skills and abilities really shined were when he noticed a part that was only slightly different to the eye, yet did not meet standards. He pointed out the discrepancy to his trainer who was able to address the issue and prevent any production errors down the line. Lehman, who prefers routine in his work day, currently works on a machine producing parts. Team Leader Dawn Mock shared that his perspective has helped draw attention to situations that may be out of process.
Chase L. was hired in September 2015, after working as part of the Wayne Industries enclave group for eight months. Assisted in his employment search through The Partnership for Employment First (a collaboration of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, OOD and Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities) through Darke DD, Chase quickly learned many jobs in his area at GTI. In December 2015, he was promoted to a provisionary worker, the next step in his career at GTI. In response to their work attributes, Mock stated that “Ashton and Chase’s attendance is excellent and their production speeds are as good as other GTI workers, making them valuable contributors to their production team.”
When asked about hiring individuals with disabilities Barry Paulus, GTI assistant plant manager, said “We have found that the individuals who have worked at GTI have been very dependable and a good labor source. I would encourage other employers to consider hiring a worker with a developmental disability.”
Paulus also stated that he “believes the Wayne Industries Associates have changed some GTI associates’ perspective on what a person with a disability can do. I know they have changed mine.”
The enclave-to-work partnership has been so successful that GTI has recently added a third worker to Mock’s team, with the hopes to eventually hire him on to their permanent roster.
Anyone interested in learning more about partnering with the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities for employment opportunities, Bridges to Transition, inclusion and/or volunteerism can contact Rodney Willis, Community First director at 937-459-4626 or [email protected] Be sure to visit the webpage at darkedd.org and like it on Facebook.